10/02/2012

Leave Europe far behind on the tram!

One Geneva tram is painted to advertise an airline wanting to fly us to a beach destination. The combination of the two is curious.

 


As I waited for a tram towards town, one which came past in the opposite direction caught my eye: I knew the beach destination shown on the painted side of it. Then I looked with some surprise at the airline which was offering the advertisement: Turkish Airlines.

Not surprising, you might say, since there are nice beaches around Turkey. However, I instantly recognised the beach thet was shown, since in the background was Table Mountain, South Africa. I am almost sure that it would have been taken from Blouberg Strand, just North of Cape Town and East of Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela had a long stay at government expense!).

A quick search showed that indeed, Turkish Airlines have started offering a service from Istanbul to Cape Town via Johannesburg. Thus, a trip from Geneva would start by a short flight to Istanbul. We have, as a family with relations there, gone to South Africa via many intermediate airports, but I would never have thought of Istanbul.

This was also interesting because I read in the Times this same morning an article which referred to airlines as "An industry taking flight leaves Europe far behind". According to this report, the International Air Transport Association IATA forecasts that European carriers will plunge to combined losses of 1.2 billion dollars this year. In contrast, the industry as a whole should be in line for an overall profit of 4.1 billion dollars. Nonetheless, this nice sum is only half of the overall profits last year!

Next year? The optimistic forecast is that growth could return to the figures of 2011. However, this could be thrown in the fire by events: a Eurozone meltdown, a worsening of the crisis around Syria and Iran or a serious confrontation between China and Japan over some uninhabited islands.

Many years ago, when British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was in office, he is reputed to have been asked what was the greatest obstacle to political achievement. His reply was

"‘Events, dear boy, events"

So, depending on your views of what events could happen, it might be a good time to head (far) South!

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